It’s almost hopeless to keep looking forward to a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU as both sides have repeatedly failed at all attempts to reach an agreement on how future trading between them will run after the transition period.
The UK and the EU negotiating teams have refused to understand each other on the issues of fair competition, fisheries and governance. Not only those, but issues such as the Erasmus+ exchange programme have also caused talks to stall.
Speaking on the current position of post Brexit talks, a member of the EU Parliament’s UK coordination group, Nathalie Loiseau, said, “We are far from an agreement. Nothing is impossible to a willing heart, but it’s like climbing the Himalaya from the northern side.”
Part of the issues holding back talks is the official’s concern over losing access to the student exchange programme. Education and business leaders have shown that the loss of the programme would remove £243million a year in income and cause an estimated 17,000 students to miss out on studying abroad.
The student exchange project receives £420million from EU students who study in the UK – after subtracting membership costs it drops to £243million.
Joe Fitzsimons, the head of education and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said, “Many employers deeply value the kind of international experience the Erasmus scheme helps foster.
“Given the benefits it can bring students and businesses, maintaining access to Erasmus and wider EU research and education partnerships has been a priority for the IoD from the off.”
On Monday, Mr Barnier briefed the EU ambassadors on the current state of affairs before negotiations with Lord Forst reconvened, during which time he told them that the UK had backtracked on its demands mostly on fishery thereby increasing hope a deal could be agreed.
A UK source later denied that, saying, “The inaccurate briefings from the EU side in recent days have made a difficult discussion even more challenging in the short period of time we have left.”